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Udacity teams with Google, others to rethink tech education

The company has partnered with the likes of Google and Autodesk to try to create more opportunities in tech for students.

Udacity -- started by former Googler Sebastian Thrun, a key player in the search giant's development of driverless cars who spoke at TechCrunch Disrupt this morning -- has been met with both optimism and skepticism. But that hasn't stopped the online education company from forging some serious alliances in the tech industry.

The company on Monday announced an initiative called Open Education Alliance that it said will help students pursue careers in technology.

Partners mentioned in the announcement include Google, Autodesk, Khan Academy, and Intuit. The initiative emphasizes curricula that are affordable and sometimes free, according to the blog post.

Specifics about the alliance are scant, saying only that the partner organizations will "commit to assisting in the curation and development of a new 21st century curriculum and to connect learners with opportunities in industry," and that "the mission of the OEA is to make high quality education available."

The blog post cites stats from a recent McKinsey study that says there are 75 million youth unemployed throughout the world, and that "40 percent of employers say a lack of skills is the main reason for entry-level vacancies."

Udacity's online course partnership with San Jose State University has been rocky. Disappointing test results caused the university to put the project on hold for the upcoming semester, but results for summer courses have been better.